Three generations of enterprise



Yes, we have bananas!

Sven Salén was a young man but armed with valuable experience from his first, tough years in the shipping business. He was gregarious but with a shy side that stopped him from talking about himself. Socialising and public speaking came easily to him. He was interested in a wide variety of sports in addition to sailing and motor racing. Skiing was among them and would be significant later in life.

Sven Salén plunged into this risk-filled business as a company director for Banan-Kompaniet, in charge of its steamer section. He chartered a few ships and in April 1922 began importing the fruit on the Caledonia, which docked on 7 April to great media and public hullabaloo and off-loaded 6,700 bunches of bananas in Göteborg harbour.

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Sven and Dagmar Salén in St. Anton, 1936.

The yellow fruit symbolised peace and prosperity

Off-loading bananas in Nybroviken bay in Stockholm in the 1920s.
Pass ’em on down! Day workers off-load the banana ship’s exotic cargo in Gothenburg harbour in the 1920s.
The first banana steamers, like the Jamaica, lacked onboard refrigeration and would have been little use on long trips in hot climates but were practical from Rotterdam to Gothenburg or Stockholm.